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This is the bizarre reason cars in Leeds could be covered in Saharan Dust

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Leeds motorists could find their cars covered in a thick layer of Saharan Dust over the coming days.

WEATHER: Heavy downpours in Leeds could bring THUNDERSTORMS and HAIL

Leeds residents could wake up to a heavy covering of red dust on their cars on Friday PIC; Paige Parkin

Leeds residents could wake up to a heavy covering of red dust on their cars on Friday PIC; Paige Parkin

It might sound unbelievable, but it is a realistic prospect.

With the possibility of heavy downpours today and then again over the weekend, motorists in Leeds could end up with a thick layer of red dust on their vehicles.

Here's the reason why:

A weather phenomenon known as Saharan Dust is a mixture of sand and dust from the Sahara, the vast desert that covers most of North Africa.

When strong winds blow across the desert they can whip up dust and sand sending it high into the sky before carrying it from the upper part of the atmosphere and transport it in the direction it is blowing – which is sometimes towards the UK.

Once it is lifted from the ground by strong winds, clouds of dust can reach very high altitudes and be transported worldwide, covering thousands of miles.

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In order for the dust to get from up in the sky down to the ground, you need something to wash it out of the sky - rain.

When the raindrops fall, they collect particles of dust on the way down.

Then when the raindrops land on something and eventually evaporate, they leave behind a layer of dust.

Towns and cities in the south of England have already had a covering of Saharan Dust following rain fall in the area, including Portsmouth.

Paul Hutcheon, Met Office forecaster, says: ‘We usually see this happen several times a year when big dust storms in the Sahara coincide with southerly winds to bring dust here."

In certain weather situations, Saharan dust can also affect Air pollution and pollution levels.